By Nicolina Simoes
At 7 am on 4 June 2018, fastjet together with Puma Energy Zimbabwe, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, and the CAAZ gathered 18 children from disadvantaged backgrounds at R. G. Mugabe International Airport. The kids aged 12 and 13 were about to experience the adventure of a life time. Not only were they to take their first flight, but our destination was Victoria Falls – one of the World’s Seven Natural Wonders. Here’s what happened!
On arriving at the airport there was a certain joie de vivre among the group. Once all had been ushered on board fastjet flight FN8001, Cywell Chitewe, General Manager for Puma Energy Zimbabwe welcomed the children and partners, and briefly explained the day’s agenda. He congratulated those involved in ‘The sky is the limit’ project – thanking them for their dedication and hard work to ensure this activation not only took place but was a grand success.
The sky is the limit project
This point of this CSR project was to deliver first-time experiences to children who most likely would never take a flight or see Victoria Falls in their lifetime. These are exceptional children in that many have severe hearing and vision disabilities.
One particular child stood out. Some might consider her a modern-day Helen Keller, as she is blind, deaf and mute. Despite this, she approaches life with joy and wonder. Her courage, and that of all the children, was humbling.
Time for lift off
Once the introductions were complete, our fastjet pilots gave an educational talk on what the life of a pilot entailed, what their functions and responsibilities are, and how to gain work in the aviation industry. The children were rapt listeners, hanging on to the pilots every word.
After all seatbelts were fastened, it was time for lift off. Despite the excited energy on board, nerves could be seen in the white knuckled grips on armrests and tightly shut eyes. Once we were smoothly airborne faces broke into broad smiles. Victoria Falls was only one hour away.
Freshly baked muffins filled hungry tummies, drinks were shared out, and before we knew it, Victoria Falls airport was in sight. On landing, the group of adolescents dashed off the flight, enthusiastic to catch their first glimpse of a new and exciting town. First we toured the airport, visiting the control tower for an education on flight operations, and then on to the airport fire station.
From here it was off to the Falls. For those who have travelled before, think back to how you felt on first witnessing something as awe-inspiring as the Falls. Each child was touched by this extraordinary occasion. Questions were asked, and the kids were encouraged to explore their new surroundings, and most importantly to enjoy the natural beauty.
After an unforgettable day out it was time to go home to Harare. Wherever we looked, we were greeted with a smile. It was humbling to see. What a success the day had been – an utter triumph, and definitely the first of many African Corporate Social Initiatives for fastjet to undertake.
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